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News > Food safety for the holidays; avoid cross contaminants
Food safety for the holidays; avoid cross contaminants
Holiday meals can be delicious but have also been known to cause indigestion. Take care this holiday season. (Courtesy photo)
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Food safety for the holidays; avoid cross contaminants

Posted 12/16/2010   Updated 12/16/2010 Email story   Print story


by 673d Air Base Wing Public Health Flight
Public advisory

12/16/2010 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- Parties, family dinners, and other gatherings where food is served are all part of the holiday cheer, but the merriment can change to misery if food makes you or others ill.
Typical symptoms of foodborne illness are stomach pain, vomiting, and diarrhea.
These symptoms often occur a few hours or a few days after consuming contaminated food or drink.

The symptoms usually are not long-lasting (a few hours or a few days) and go away without treatment.

Foodborne illness can be severe and even life threatening to older adults, infants and young children, pregnant women, people with HIV, cancer, or any condition that weakens their immune systems.

Combating bacteria, viruses, parasites, and other contaminants can be difficult to control in your private home.

Public Health recommends four basic food safety measures that can help prevent food
borne illness:


The first rule is to keep everything clean. Wash and sanitize everything that comes in contact with raw meats and poultry to include their juices. Pay special attention to utensils, cutting boards and counter tops.

Wash your hands and clean surfaces frequently.


Don't give bacteria the opportunity to spread from one food to another.
Keep raw meat, poultry, and seafood and their juices away from uncooked foods.
Use a separate cutting board for raw meat, poultry, and seafood and one for foods that are ready to eat (raw fruits and vegetables).

Do not put cooked meat on an unwashed plate that has held raw meat


Cook foods thoroughly. Color is not a reliable indicator of food being cooked.

Use a food thermometer to ensure meat, poultry, and fish are cooked to a safe internal temperature. To check a turkey for safety, insert a food thermometer into the innermost part of the thigh and wing and the thickest part of the breast. The turkey is safe when the temperature reaches 165° F. If your bird is stuffed you will need to allow a longer cooking time.

Cook eggs until the yolk and white are firm. When making your own eggnog or other recipe calling for raw eggs, use pasteurized shell eggs, liquid or frozen pasteurized egg products, or powdered egg whites.

Don't eat uncooked cookie dough, which may contain raw eggs.


Refrigerate foods quickly because harmful bacteria grow rapidly at room temperature.
Refrigerate leftovers within two hours.

Set your refrigerator no higher than 40°F and the freezer at 0°F.
Never defrost food at room temperature. Food can be defrosted safely in the refrigerator, under cold running water, or in the microwave.

Allow 30 minutes of thawing per pound, until completely thawed if you are using running cold water. For example, a 20 pound turkey needs four to five days to thaw completely when thawed in the refrigerator. For more information contact the Public Health Flight, at 551-4000.

12/20/2010 1:19:36 PM ET
I am happy to see your concern for food safety and also glad that you mentioned one of my favorite foods pasteurized eggs. I try to maintain a good diet eggs being included. I have been using shelled pasteurized eggs for a few years now for all of my egg based recipes. With all these recent egg recalls...I don't know but I want to keep my family safe when I cook for them during the holidays espeically when you're making things like homemade eggnog or cookies. I would highly recommend them to anyone especialy if you are using egg-based recipe.
mmmhealthyfood, Downers Grove
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